120mm vs 140mm Fans: Which is the Best for Your computer?

Last Updated on April 1, 2024 by Nasir Hanif

The debate between 140mm and 120mm fans can be a contentious topic when building your computer setup. Many people are on either side of the argument and it can be hard to provide a universal answer.

You need to be careful with case cooling fans.

This guide will provide all the information that you need to make the right decision the first time. We’ll be looking at the price, power, noise, performance and size of each fan.

FansKey Specifications
120 mm
Used to cool the interior of computer cases during regular computer use smaller overall size better for low-profile casesDimensions are 120mmx120mmx25mm
140 mm
Used for heavy applications such as editors and architectsMuch heavier you can get a lot more lighting dimensions are 140 x 140 x 25mm

Here’s what you need to know about 120mm fans

The most popular fans available are 120mm fans. Although there are many larger fans, this size is still the most common in laptops and computer builds. A 120mm intake fan can cool the inside of a case for regular computer use, while a 120mm fan is sufficient for most gamers.

The 120mm mounting is smaller than most fans. It’s great for low-profile cases or builds that have other smaller parts. However, it does not offer any cooling options.

The 120mm fan dimensions are 120mm x 120mmx25mm. However, some fans may be slightly larger, especially if they have additional RGB lighting.

What you need to know about 140mm fans

People are buying 140mm fans more often, even though the size is larger. Gamers and professionals who use heavy software, like editors and architects, love the 140mm computer fan.

The 140mm fan dimensions are 140mm x 140mmx25mm. However, there are fans that are slightly larger, especially if they have additional RGB lighting. Fans measuring 140mm have more lighting which makes them heavier and larger.

What does size have to do with it?

When buying a fan for your build, the first thing to consider is the size of your case. The case must accommodate the fan. Modern cases can accommodate fans up to 140mm, 120mm, or 80mm.

Some cases can accommodate up to 200mm while others can fit 40mm. The case should include a guide to help you choose the right size. You can also measure the fan’s size from the mounting holes.

Also, consider whether the fan will be mounted horizontally or vertically. Although vertically mounted fans are the most popular, many modern cases and gaming cases allow for horizontal mounting.

Although this will not affect your bearing choice in the long term, it could have an impact on the type of bearings you choose.

120mm fans vs. 140mm fans: Let’s compare

There is a major difference between 140mm and 120mm Fans. 140mm fans have better cooling, airflow, and performance than 120mm fans.

These are the most important factors to consider when comparing 140mm and 120mm fans.

– Cooling

Cooling the whole system is the main purpose of any fan. We need to examine the CFM (or RPM) in order to determine if a fan can adequately cool a system.

CFM is cubic feet per minute. This refers to the amount of air a fan can move in a minute. This is the most important specification to compare fans. The best 140mm case fans are more powerful because they have longer blades.

Cooling is more than just the length of your blade. Cooling can also be affected by the design of the blade, its material, and the RPM.

RPM is the round per minute. This refers to how fast the fan spins per minute. In general, fans of 120mm will have a higher RPM than fans of 140mm.

  • 140mm fans win, but 120mm fans offer excellent cooling.

– Static pressure

The static pressure rating of the fan is another thing to consider. This determines how much airflow the fans produce that penetrates the heatsinks or mesh enclosures, and works to cool your system.

This category is difficult to classify because fans can have different purposes depending on how much cooling they require. Fans may be used to cool hot air. Other times, they will also fight against dust and other environmental contaminants.

This means that static pressure ratings are almost always in an ideal situation, where there isn’t any dust or debris.

It is difficult to choose a winner in this category. However, many are concerned about static pressure ratings.

If you’re stuck between two fans and aren’t sure which one to choose, pick the one with higher static pressure. This fan will generally be 140mm in diameter.

Winner: It’s tied, but 140mm by one hair

Read Also: Best 140mm Case Fans For CPUs 2022

– Noise

Noise is an important consideration when building any type or PC. The noise that your computer makes is largely due to fans. Fans are available that operate silently, such as the Be Quiet! The fans are almost silent

Today’s fans are usually quiet, particularly if they are ones that you buy to install into your own PCs. Prebuilt computers and pre-built PCs have the loudest fans. 140mm fans are quieter as they don’t need to move as often to achieve the same cooling rate.

Other factors, such as speed and the environment, are also important when it comes to noise. It is interesting to note that the size of the blade doesn’t affect the noise. This means you won’t see a clear winner.

  • 140mm fans won because they don’t need to spin as often to provide the same cooling.

– Working Your Fan Into Your Build

Also, consider the dimensions of your computer case and whether or not it will accommodate the fan. You don’t need to base your case solely on the fan size. Try to make the best possible case and then adjust your fan options.

The 140mm fans are bigger and may require more space in your case. When building your rig, a 120mm fan will allow you to have more options and flexibility.

Another thing to consider is the type of bearings you will be using in your build. Depending on how it is mounted, this can increase the fan’s weight and size.

  • Rifle bearings are the most affordable option. They come with many 120mm fans and many 140mm Fans. However, these fans can only be prebuilt.
  • They are not available to all fans.

Your case and the fan will determine how you connect with them. However, most fans offer all three options.

  • Winner: 120mm fans, because they offer more options to suit different cases

– The Fan’s Overall Value

You should also consider the value of your fan in terms of its contribution to your system. While 140mm fans are more expensive than 120mm, this is not always true. Fans with 120mm fans are more expensive than those with 120mm fans.

It is worth paying a bit more to get a fan that costs less than the one you have.

You will need to use fewer 140mm fans if you are generating a lot heat in your building. This could lower your cost.

  • Winner: 140mm. This is especially important if you have multiple fans

What about Lighting?

Lighting is becoming more popular than ever. RGB lighting adds beauty and value to any computer build. There are many options for RGB lighting on 120mm or 140mm fans if you want to build in an open case. Although the fan is larger, it offers more options but costs more than the 120mm fan.

The only thing to consider is whether you will need to add lighting to your fan. You will need to purchase more fans if you do.

Read Also: React Native VS Swift: Which one is good for Your Next Project?

Another thing to consider: DC vs PWM

You may need to decide if you want a fan that is 120mm or 140mm.

The 3-pin headers attached to your motherboard control a DC fan (direct current).

A PWM fan (pulse-width modulation) however, has an extra pin that allows it to signal to other parts more easily.

Although there isn’t much difference between the two types of fans available, a PWM fan tends to be quieter and more useful over time. A PWM fan might be the best option if you are looking to future-proof your build.

How does Overclocking affect the fan size and quality?

You should also think about how much pressure your fan will be under. Do you overclock often? If yes, then you should definitely spend on a high-quality 140mm fan.

Overclocking can cause heat and impact your performance. A 140mm fan will allow you to push your system further than normal, without worrying about damaging anything.

Conclusion: Which size fan is better?

We’ve discussed many factors to consider when building a PC. Fan size is one of them.

You have a lot of options when it comes down to the size of your fan, but we believe that most people will be happier with a 140mm fan than a 120mm fan. This is why?

  • 140mm fans are more efficient and have better airflow and cooler cooling than most other fans.
  • 140mm fans are more expensive but offer great value.

It is more important to consider the quality of the fan than its size. It is important to look beyond the size of the fan and instead focus on its quality. It is important to choose one that suits your needs and performs well in every category.

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